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Expert Friends

July 25, 2009

Recently in the Vancouver Sun (jun 25, 2009) reporter Kim Pemberton wrote about her daughter and a new program that assisted her to make friends at school.  It was called Expert Friends and it provided support to her daughter’s classmates so that they better understood her daughter and how to play with her. 

Kim writes:

It occurred to me then that it was no longer Hannah who needed the training on being a friend. It was

her peers. They needed to be taught how to be friends with a child with differences, so that when

someone like Hannah did “tap them on the shoulder and ask ‘Can I play?” they would answer “yes” and

know how.

Hannah’s story isn’t unusual. I haven’t yet met a parent of a child with special needs who hasn’t shared

similar stories of watching their children alone on the playground at recess, while other children played

all around them.

There are other programs focused on friends at school, including one called Best Buddies.


One Comment leave one →
  1. Shelley Nessman permalink
    July 25, 2009 11:44 pm

    Wonderous Margaret Wheatley writes in her book Finding Our Way:

    ” I find it important, periodically, to ask people to step back and try to see the big picture. This is difficult to do when we’re stressed by so many pressures at work and at home. But when we shift to fifty thousand feet, it’s easier to see that our impotence is not a result of personal failings. Instead failing to achieve good results is a consequence of living in this time when we’ve reached the end of a paradigm. Many of our fundamental beliefs and practices no longer serve us or the greater world. Worse than that, too many are casuing harm and distancing us from the very skills, knowledge and wisdome that would help.

    This is the era of many messes. Some of these we’ve created (although no intentionally) because we act on assumptions that can never engender healthy sustainable socieities and organizations. We act as if jumans are motivated by selfishness, greed and fear. That we exist as individualsl free of the obligation of interdependence. That hierarchy and bureaucracy are the best forms of organizing. That efficiency is the premier measure of value. that people work best under controls and regulations. That diversity is a problem. That unrestrained growth is good. That a healthy economy leads natureally to a healthy society. That poor people have different motivations than other people. That only a few people are creative. That only a few people care about their freedom.

    These beliefs are false. They’be created the intractable problems that we now encounter everywhere. If you look globally, its hard to find examples in any country or any major sector-health, education, religion, governance, development- of successfully solving dilemmas. Attempts to resolve them lead only to more problems, unintended consequences and angry constituents. While millions of people work earnestly to find solutions and billions of dollars are poured into these efforts, we can’t expect success as long as we stay wedded to our old approaches.

    We live in a time that proves Einstein right “No problem can be solved from the same level of thinking that created it” “

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